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Among those who quit the PDP for SDP are former Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Clement Awoyelu, former High Commissioner to Canada, Ambassador Dare Bejide, former House of Representatives member, Hon. Yemi Arokodare, former Commissioner for Commerce, Mrs. Omotomilola Osunde, among others.
Rising from a meeting in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday, they said they took the decision to join SDP because they could no longer stomach the alleged dictatorial tendencies, impunity, lack of respect for elders and subversion of party constitution by Governor Ayo Fayose.
They condemned the attempt by Fayose to impose his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, as the sole candidate ahead of the July 14 governorship election which they said was done in violation of party guidelines and Electoral Act.
They also berated Fayose for victimizing party members who disagree with him on principle and turning the party to his personal estate.
Awoyelu is the first state PDP Chairman while Bejide who is the first State Secretary later served as Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
Addressing reporters after the meeting held in his Ekute, Ado-Ekiti residence, Awoyelu who represented Ekiti Central in the Senate between 2003 and 2007 said Fayose and his faction frustrated all peace moves to resolve crisis in Ekiti PDP.
He said a whole faction of the PDP, led by Chief Williams Ajayi had defected, saying the SDP will work hard to ensure that the party wins the impending gubernatorial poll in the state.
Ajayi was leading a splinter group before Appeal Court validated the pro-Fayose group , led by Chief Gboyega Oguntuase as the authentic faction.
Awoyelu said: “We have been on this issue for long, particularly since Governor Fayose pronounced his deputy the sole candidate for the next election. We have experienced impunity, reckless imposition and lack of respect for elders being displayed by the governor.
“As a leader, I could not have taken a unilateral position over issue that affects the corporate existence of all of us. So today, we met and we all agreed to move en mass to SDP .
“We are receiving complaints everyday about how PDP members loyal to Fayose have been victimizing their perceived enemies in PDP.
“We could all see how a man has turned himself into a dictator in a party we all laboured to build. Looking at all these infractions, we have agreed not to return to PDP, we are now to move en mass to SDP.
“We deliberated well before taking this decision and since it was the voice of the people, I have to abide by it as a leader”, he added.
Awoyelu said the decision to defect was not triggered by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s association with SDP.
Awoyelu said: “ We are old enough to take actions on our own, we are not neophytes in politics, so this is not true.
“We are aware that Obasanjo has formed the a National Intervention Movement (NIM) , which he said was not a political movement.
“But, we will be happy if this group is ready to work with SDP. Our aim is to take over Ekiti and Nigeria in 2019 and we are ready to work with like minds to achieve this task”.
On whether the constitution of the executives from the wards to the State level may spark up controversies in the party between the old and new members, Awoyelu dispelled such insinuation, saying there are no class differences in SDP.
“We are all one, whether new or old and it is the secretariat that will give directive on how the executives should be constituted”, he said.
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